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Different Types of Bourbon


Below are some terms and the definitions used to describe Bourbon.


Standard – Follows the basic rules of American Bourbon.

Kentucky – The distillery must be located within the state of Kentucky and the Bourbon be aged at least one year. The grain may be sourced elsewhere.

Tennessee – Made in Tennessee and typically labeled Tennessee Whiskey, and not Tennessee Bourbon. The difference is that before the whiskey is placed in the casks, it is filtered with maple charcoal, which mellows the whiskey. The rules of the Bourbon Act do not prevent Tennessee whiskey to be labeled Bourbon, as all the rules are met.

Straight – all the requirement of bourbon, plus it is aged for a minimum of two years.

Small-Batch – There are no regulation that define ‘small-batch,’ however it does imply a premium whiskey.

Single Barrel – This is defined as Bourbon that has been bottled from a single barrel.

Sour Mash – This is a technique for making Bourbon. It reserves a small portion of the fermented mash for another batch the following year to ensure consistency.

Bottled in Bond – In 1897 the Bottled-In-Bond act was signed and was the first federal regulation protecting American whiskies. Today, it is rarely used. A bonded whiskey must be aged for at least four year, the Bourbon in each bottled must be from the same distillery and within the same season. The aging process must take place in a bonded warehouse where it is supervised by the US government. It must also be bottled at a minimum of 50% ABV.

Blended – Must contain at least 51% straight bourbon.

High-Rye & Wheated – This contains 20% to 35% rye or wheat in the mash along with the regulated 51% corn.


Hope this helps you understanding of American Bourbon labeling.

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